from the too-late dept
Remote play capability for the Playstation 4 has been something of a twisted, never ending saga. One of the most useful features of the gaming console, Sony has jealously guarded the ability to play its flagship console remotely on all kinds of devices. Originally, the only way you could connect to your PS4 was if you bought a Playstation Vita, a product all but abandoned at this point, or a Sony Xperia Android phone, a line of products the public almost universally ignored. When tinkerers on the internet went about making their own remote play apps that would work with Android phones and PCs, Sony worked tirelessly to update the console firmware to break those homebrew apps. Then Sony came out with its own PC remote play app. Subsequently, some months ago, Sony released remote play functionality for iOS devices only. The explanation at the time was that Sony was likely still trying to push Xperia phones, despite the complete lack of traction.
And now, unceremoniously via yet another firmware update, Sony has given up the game and enabled remote play for all Android devices.
Fortunately, 7.0 expanded the feature, making it compatible with most Android devices. This means that anyone with an Android-compatible phone in their pocket can play PlayStation 4 games on the go. The new update also coincides with a small quality-of-life patch for iOS remote play, the game streaming app itself having been available since March of this year on the platform.
Now, the post goes on to note that there are some aspects of the remote play app that are janky, some of which weren’t issues with the homebrew Android app. But the more frustrating aspect is just how long a walk Sony took in getting here. Again, enabling more remote play functionality for the PS 4 makes the console more valuable. It could have been used as a selling point for the PS4, an already immensely popular device, rather than remote play being used as selling points for the Vita and Xperia phones, which were barely adopted by the public. And what was with the odd steps in enabling all of this? Sony already had a working Android app when it decided to release remote play for iOS first, sitting on the Android version it already had for several months, seemingly for no reason.
The source post calls this what it was: a hostage situation.
That said, it’s nice to see Sony finally give up on the remote play first-party hostage situation they’ve kept up for most of the generation. With Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, and Google Stadia all making moves, gaming is once again shifting away from the television, and Sony is smart to make an attempt to capitalize on this trend. This console generation may be swiftly coming to an end, but this may indicate that features of this sort will be available on day one when the PS5 drops next December.
You would really, really hope that Sony wouldn’t have to learn this lesson all over again with the Playstation 5. On the other hand, it is Sony.